On offense, the Knicks relentlessly trapped and forced the Pacers into making bad decisions. Most of their 21 turnovers were a direct result of the Knicks trapping them in two specific situations.
The first was when one of Indiana’s guards was near the sideline. They swarmed George Hill and Paul George as soon as they crossed half court. This forced the Pacers to play a little faster than normal and led to a lot of sloppy decisions.
The Knicks also double-teamed David West whenever he caught the ball in the post. West is primarily a face up threat on offense. He’s an above average passer for a big man but the Knicks scrambling style caused him to cough up the ball. With the Knicks' perimeter players flying around to close off passing lanes, West found himself trying to make cross-court skip passes. One in particular was intercepted by JR Smith and led to a fast break.
The Pacers will try to control the tempo to counter this aggressive, trapping-style defense. They’ll also send more cutters through the lane to generate easy baskets. The Knicks were able to maintain their defensive effort until they finally broke the Pacers in the fourth quarter. Expect the Pacers to look for early offense to offset the Knicks pesky perimeter players. Look for Indiana to pound the ball into the post early in the shot clock. If the Knicks double, the Pacers will send cutters to the rim on backdoor cuts. This will make for much easier passes and penalize New York for being overly aggressive.
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